7 JULIO 2020

Blue energy: The power of water

Planta de energía azul

Osmotic energy, also referred to as blue energy, is the energy that is generated when contact is made between salt water, with a high concentration in salts, with fresh water, which has a much lower concentration.

When we talk about renewable energy, it is almost always concerning green energy, however, blue energy is also part of the broad range of renewable energies, given that it is an unlimited, clean and carbon-free source of energy which does not affect the atmosphere.

The physical phenomenon of osmosis is the most important part of the process of producing blue energy. Therefore, in the process of obtaining blue energy, it is important for osmosis to occur: Sea water and fresh water must be separated by a semi-permeable membrane that only allows water to pass through while separating the salts. In this way, by decreasing the saline concentration, osmotic pressure is produced and it is this pressure that causes the turbine to start moving, thus generating power.

osmotic blue energy

Advantages and disadvantages of blue energy

Low-carbon energy: The blue energy generation process emits no CO2 into the atmosphere

Unlimited power 24/7: Compared with solar power which depends on daily sunlight hours, this type of energy does not depend on any seasonal element; it can operate 24 hours a day.

Weather conditions: This type of energy can be obtained regardless of the weather conditions of the place where it is located.

High density in locations: Since 44% of the density of the planet is water, finding locations is not a fundamental problem.

High costs: The construction of a desalination plant requires a higher economic investment than any solar plant, in addition, the price per megawatt costs twice the amount generated by other types of renewable energy.

Semi-permeable membranes: The membranes needed to produce the osmosis phenomenon must be very large.

This type of renewable energy is considered by professionals in the sector to be “halfway”, that is to say, it is not yet sufficiently developed to be considered a renewable energy source capable of efficiently replacing conventional energy.

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